Company behind Translink’s upcoming Compass card target of class-action lawsuit

The company behind Translink’s upcoming Compass card system is being sued in the U.S.

Translink has a $220 million contract with Cubic Transportation Systems to operate its Compass card system which has been rolling out in phases for months now.

Three class action lawsuits have been launched in Chicago by people who say the system doesn’t work properly.

Chicago’s card, called “Ventra,” is similar to Compass and launched last month, Some users are alleging they have been getting double and even triple-billed when they “tap in” with the card.

Other users are having problems scanning their cards, and there are allegedly billing-method errors. In addition, users’ debit cards are accidentally being scanned instead of their Venture cards.

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In addition, an estimated 950,000 users have received free rides on Chicago’s transit system due to alleged problems with the system.

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Translink says they are aware of what’s happening in Chicago, but we shouldn’t worry here because our system is different.

“It’s a different system,” says Mike Madill, spokesperson for Translink. “It’s a debit card type of system, and they’ve partnered with a financial institution to make that work. What we are doing here in Vancouver is a closed-loop transit card.”

The lawyer for the class action lawsuit, Tom Zimmerman, says reports of problems are not uncommon.

“There are reports from around the world — London, Chicago, Atlanta and the other cities — where these Cubic systems have been installed, demonstrate that there are problems with these rollouts,”  says Zimmerman. “I can speak to Chicago for sure,  that the problems persist long after the rollout — so you’re next.”

None of the U.S. allegations have been proven in court and the company denies the claims.

As for when Metro Vancouver commuters will be able to start using the Compass card, Translink refused to give a timeline to Global News during interviews today.

Translink says 85,000 people are already using the cards in Metro Vancouver, and the cards will continue to be rolled out in phases – with the next phases scheduled to be West Coast Express riders and U-Pass holders –followed by the general public. We just don’t know when.

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— with files from Geoff Hastings, Global News

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